5. Get a decision

What happens at my Small Claims Court trial?
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5. Get a decision

At the end of your trial, you and the defendant will be asked for verbal or written submissions. These are also called final arguments.

If you give verbal submissions, the judge can decide right away and tell you their decision. Or they may need time to decide. If this happens, you will get a written decision in the mail or the judge may ask you to return to court to hear their reasons. 

The judge's decision is called a judgment. It will say if the defendant has to pay you and how much. A judgment is an order of the court.

But, even if you get a judgment, it does not mean the defendant will pay you. This might be because they don't have any money or property that can be used to pay you, or because they don't agree with the judge's decision. It's up to you to collect the money once you have a court order.

You can read After Judgment – Guide to Getting Results on the Ministry of the Attorney General website to learn more about how you can collect the money you're owed.

You don't agree

If you don't agree with the judge's decision, you can appeal to a higher court if:

  • the amount of the judgment, not including court costs, is more than $2,500
  • there is an order for recovery of personal property valued at more than $2,500

You should only appeal if you think the judge made a significant mistake. An appeal is not an opportunity to retell your story. The appeal judge will not hear any new evidence. They make a decision based on the transcript of the trial and the court record.

For more information about appeals, see the Guides to Divisional Court on the Ministry of Attorney General website. The Ontario Courts website also has useful information.

You May Also Need

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Reviewed: December 10, 2018

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